Archive for November 12th, 2011

Food Manufacturing Challenges – HACCP Design Principle No. 5

Saturday, November 12th, 2011
     Picture yourself on a highway, it’s dark out, the wind is blowing fiercely, and you’re unable to see that the pavement is accumulating icy patches.  You hit one, and your car veers out of control.  Luckily you drive one of the new generation of “smart” vehicles.  Wheel sensors detect your predicament and immediately initiate a sequence of events to correct the situation and bring your vehicle back into control.

     Corrective measures need to be taken in many situations when things go awry, whether they be computer-generated or human-generated corrections, and food manufacturing facilities are not exempt from the process.  Let’s look at how this applies within HACCP Design Principle No. 5. 

     Principle 5:  Establish corrective actions. – Simply put, when an established critical limit at a designated critical control point (CCP) has been found not to be functioning as intended, thereby exposing consumers to potential food safety issues, design engineers must enact corrective measures to resolve the issue as soon as possible.   

     Let’s return to the example set out in our last article, where we discussed HACCP Design Principle 4.  An engineering manager has discovered a problem with the lower critical limits established by her design engineer’s software logic as it concerns a CCP established with regard to cooker temperature.  The time and temperature in the logic create a hazardous situation by not taking into account that larger cuts of meat require more cooking time, resulting in them being undercooked. 

     Fortunately, the engineering manager’s diligent and ongoing day-to-day monitoring has alerted her to the error.  She immediately provides feedback about it to the design engineer, who makes corrections to the software logic.

     Problem solved, and all is working well within the food manufacturing plant, right?  Yes, but we’re not finished. We have to make sure that a mechanism is set in place to ensure that HACCP Principles 1 through 5 are being followed and that they are actually working to protect consumers from potential food contamination hazards.

     Next time we’ll take a look at the last of the HACCP Design Principles, No. 6, which concerns itself with maintenance and housekeeping issues.

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